President Joe Biden’s administration has urged the US Congress to “approve” a proposal to supply Turkey missiles and enhanced equipment.
The US-Turkey arms transaction, estimated to be worth over $300 million, is likely to strengthen defence ties between the NATO allies. The potential sale, however, is not included in a $6 billion deal Turkey has been seeking since 2021 to buy 40 F-16 fighter jets and 80 sets of existing fleet modifications. Members of Congress can evaluate and reply to transactions before they are completed, thanks to the US government’s informal notification mechanism. The US cancelled the sale of F-35 fighter fighters to Turkey in 2019 due to concerns that Russia’s radar system will be harmed as a result of Turkey’s acquisition and deployment of the Russian-made S-400 defensive missile system. Some US legislators have spoken out against the action. Seven advocacy groups focused on U.S. interests in the Mediterranean and the Middle East have also urged Congress to “apply the most stringent vetting to any potential sales” to Turkey. Turkey, on the other hand, is proving to be an important, helpful, and strategic ally of the United States, according to Karen Donfried, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs.
In a phone chat with his US counterpart in March, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also brought up the idea of buying F-16s. Top Ankara officials stated that negotiations on the F-16 are progressing well. The United States and Turkey have reached an agreement in principle on a weapons sale, signalling an improvement in the bilateral relationship, particularly in the defence industry. If this package is approved, it will generate good momentum and be viewed as a strong signal to improve the alliance relationship.